If you haven’t heard of our new project, the On Fire anthology, this interview series will showcase our authors and their writing lives beyond their ignited tales. In Phoebe Tsang‘s “Setting Fire to Water,” Coyote travels to India in search of self-relization but finds it too much to swallow.
What motivates you to write?
An emotional response to people and/or place.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I’ve been lucky enough to receive visits from a white owl in my meditations – she helps me access intuition, psychic perception, and the connection between reality and the otherworld. Because a story is never just about what happens in the story…
What is the title of your next story and what will it be about?
I never know what my next story will be about! I like being surprised…
What do you find to be the easiest thing about writing? What is the hardest?
Getting started. Finishing.
How do you choose your character’s personalities and names?
I don’t choose my characters – I listen to the way they talk and let myself be guided by the things they say and how they say it. Their names always come to me early on in the writing process, completely intuitively – sometimes in a language I have never known before.
Do you use one or more professional editors, and if so, what types?
Yes. I have a poetry editor who I’ve been working with since I started writing poetry, and a fiction editor. I never send out a poem or story on submission without consulting them first.
What marketing techniques do you find most effective?
I use images more than words – blogging takes too long as I will edit a post to an inch of its life before sending it out!
Phoebe Tsang is British-Canadian poet, short-story writer, librettist, and violinist. She is the author of the full-length poetry collection Contents of a Mermaid’s Purse (Tightrope Books), and her poetry and fiction has been published in anthologies and journals including the Asia Literary Review and the Literary Review of Canada. Her short fiction was long-listed for the 2014 Bristol Short Story Prize, and short-listed for the Matrix Lit POP Awards in 2016, rained, and, her chapbook of collaborative visual poems with artist John Riegert, was published in Spring 2017 by Puddles of Sky Press. She is currently completing her first solo album of poetry, music and song, through a grant from the Jack Straw Cultural Center (Seattle, WA).